Malatesta moves forward: Social sciences professor explores new horizons

By Travis Small 

Bert Malatesta, an associate professor of Humanities and Social Sciences, has announced his early retirement from Emerson College. Malatesta, who first joined Emerson in 1971, plans on leaving the College this September.

According to Malatesta, after teaching for 35 years he has just had enough.

“I really think teaching is a noble profession. I think it is something worthwhile doing. I have really enjoyed it. I have taught a lot of things. I have taught English, speech, drama, music, as well as psychology and philosophy. I have had a good run at it, and I think it is time for me to go do something else while I am still young enough to do it,” Malatesta said.

Malatesta, who graduated from a trade school rather than a high school, spent four years in the Navy prior to earning three degrees (B.S., Ed.M., Ed.D.) from Boston University. After graduating from B.U., he was invited to join their faculty.

Malatesta taught at B.U. for five years, but about 29 years ago he came over to Emerson to teach an overflow course.

“At the time, I was lecturing to 450 students in the usual B.U. situation. To teach a class of 15 to 20 students [at Emerson] was really great, particularly because I found Emerson students to be very verbal,” Malatesta said.

According to Malatesta, he enjoyed teaching at Emerson, and when a job came about that gave him more flexibility to teach courses he wanted to teach, he came to Emerson.

“One of the reasons I came to Emerson was that my own undergraduate work was in English, speech and theatre. It was a natural fit that way. I also had a radio show for two years as well. I was very comfortable with the people here,” Malatesta, who also practiced private therapy up until eight years ago, said.

Henry Stonie, chair of Humanities and Social Sciences, said that Malatesta had been involved with the College in a number of roles. At various times, he has served as president of the Faculty Assembly, president of the faculty union, and chair of the All College Promotion and Tenure Committee.

According to Stonie, it is expected that Malatesta’s name will be submitted by the department for Professor Emeritus.

“He always ran an entertaining class. He had time for students, and was an all around fun guy,” Skylar Browning, print journalism major and Senior Class president, said. “He was always available to write recommendations for students. It is too bad he is leaving.”

“He was an excellent teacher. He fostered a good academic environment, which the whole class benefited from,” Rebecca Burnham, a senior communication disorders major who had Malatesta for Abnormal Psychology, said.

“I think over the years, I can point to a list of students that I have made a difference to, in terms of maybe they wanted to give up or were unclear and unfocused about where they wanted to go, and I have been able to help them realize some of their goals. I think of that as my biggest accomplishment,” Malatesta said.

Malatesta fondly recalls the days when Emerson was much smaller, and considered much more of an “Emerson Family.”

“Brooks Russell used to put on an ‘Old Faces’ production here that I remember as some of the fondest experiences of my life,” Malatesta said. “Old Faces” was a total faculty variety show, which featured some faculty in drag, singing or dancing.

“I was one of the people not in favor of the changes here. I am not leaving because of that, it was just coincidental, but it certainly does not make it hard to leave,” Malatesta said. “In bottom line aspects, I think the direction that the school is moving in is probably the most viable one economically. Personally, those aren’t the kind of choices I would make, but I am not an administrator, I am a faculty person.”

Malatesta said he looks forward to a lot more free time after his retirement. He enjoys sailing, and in the late 1970s he sailed across the Atlantic in his boat with a group of people. Malatesta is planning to sail across the Atlantic again in the future, but this time alone.

He also hopes to learn how to play the cello, and go back to school and study painting at the Mass College of Art.

“I want to reemphasize how much I have enjoyed my time here, and I just hope that everybody enjoys their time as much as I have,” Malatesta said.

Thursday, April 24, 1997

Malatesta moves forward: Social sciences professor explores new horizons 

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